Electrical losses

Electrical losses

When electricity is generated in a power station, not all of the electrical energy which flows through the power network reaches our customers. This is because power networks use up some of the energy in the process of transporting the electricity.

What are electrical losses?

Put simply, losses are the difference between the energy entering the network at one end and the energy received by customers.

Losses occur for a number of reasons and are divided into two categories:

Technical losses

Technical losses are usually lost in the form of heat from the electrical cables, lines and transformers used to transfer electricity to and from customers. Some level of technical loss is inevitable as no power system can be 100% efficient in its delivery of electrical energy.

Non-technical losses

Non-technical losses relate to energy which cannot be accounted for or isn’t paid for. These losses occur because of errors in measuring energy and theft.

What are we doing to prevent losses?

We are committed to reducing losses on our network through a number of initiatives which are detailed in our Losses Strategy.

As it isn’t possible to stop all network losses, our approach ensures a careful balance between cost and customer benefit. Each initiative implemented on our network is carefully assessed to ensure that the savings for customers outweigh the cost of its implementation.

Our approach includes a number of initiatives which fall into the following categories:

  • Systems and processes - We are enhancing our internal systems and processes to more easily identify network equipment likely to have high technical losses.
  • Network equipment - We are replacing network equipment with more efficient ‘low loss’ transformers and cables.
  • Electricity theft - We are working with cross-industry stakeholders including the police, fire service, energy supply companies and local authorities to tackle the theft of electricity.
  • Innovation and best practice - We are reviewing learning from across the industry to take into account the full range of options for tackling losses.
  • Knowledge sharing - We are sharing knowledge with other network operators on the best ways to reduce electrical losses.

If you would like to report electricity theft please contact us in confidence.

Related documents

For more information on our approach to managing electrical losses, please see the documents below.